Fascinating read from Politico’s Playbook newsletter

MORNING MINDMELD: One of the most riveting national and political events of the year happens this afternoon, when President Obama spends three hours on the ground in Atlantic City, N.J., with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who helped set the tone for the national conversation in Sandy’s aftermath by heartily praising the president and his administration for their response, and brusquely swatting away political questions. POTUS lands in Atlantic City at 12:25 p.m., views storm damage with Christie at 1 p.m., and takes off at 3:15 p.m.

Many of the top Republicans who called and wrote us yesterday fear Mitt Romney’s momentum has stalled. They hope a victory is “baked in” — that some tectonic shift in the country hasn’t been fully detected by pollsters or explained by the press. But no one’s sure. And today’s Quinnipiac/NYT/CBS polls could be the death knell of Mittmentum stories — Ohio: Obama +5 (50-45; unchanged from Oct. 22) … Virginia: Obama +2 (49-47; Obama was up 5 on Oct. 11) … Florida: Obama +1 (48-47; Obama was +9 on Sept. 26).

–JOE SCARBOROUGH, blogging on POLITICO: “With President Obama maintaining his five-point lead in Ohio in today’s poll, Romney must run the table on the six remaining swing states or expand the electoral map. Considering how rough the internals look in this morning’s Ohio survey, Boston must know that winning the White House now depends on their candidate stealing Michigan, Minnesota or Pennsylvania out of the Obama column next Tuesday. Their play in those three Midwest states now appear to be more out of weakness than strength.”

Happy Halloween – and the anniversary of me coming to Japan

Happy Halloween everybody.

Today also marks the 29th anniversary of the day I arrived in Japan – Halloween 1983. I guess I might as well stick around and go for an even 30 years, don’t you think?

I can’t believe how quickly time has gone. And how things have changed.

The Tokyo of 1983 seems almost like a different era in many ways. I have come to think of it as the Golden Age of Tokyo – pre-bubble-burst, so much new activity going on, a lot more of the old still mixing with the new, all the exciting technologies we now take for granted just starting to show their first possibilities. I’m starting to sound like an old person, remembering things which are gone and changed and how it “used to be.”

But I’m glad I was here then, and still glad I am here. As for the future…? I can see returning to U.S. sometime, or maybe living part of the year there and part of the year here.

Halloween, and then Thanksgiving through the Christmas holidays are more interesting in the U.S. But for the New Year holiday week, nothing beats Japan.

And of course I wouldn’t want to miss cherry blossom season in Japan.

Then maybe go back to the U.S. for Independence Day festivities?

Still lots to look forward to I think!


Project Chako

I’ve decided that even if it takes a year I’m going to find a home for Chako.

My neighbor reneged on her promise to pay for half of Chako’s operation fees. For the sake of peace in the neighborhood I am not arguing with her about it. But it was pretty nervy of her afterwards to ask me to walk her dog twice when she couldn’t be there.

Anyway, getting back to Chako…

For a cat she has some appealing traits. She never makes a sound, ever. I’ve never heard the slightest meow from her, even when she was trapped. The vet said there is nothing wrong with her, that’s just her personality. And she has that one green eye one blue eye trait. And the fact that she’s missing her front left paw adds to her mystique. She also never seems to get angry or look dangerous. She is just afraid of people.

I’m still feeding her, of course, and she shows up every morning and late afternoon and just stares at me.

I’ve gotten to the point where I can touch her, in a manner of speaking. She is feral, so I don’t want to stick my finger out on the off chance she might decide to bite. But I can bump her nose with my fist without her fleeing or getting upset. Sometimes she even playfully  (I think) pats my fist with her missing paw. She still runs away if I go down the stairs (and then runs up again after I’m safely away) but that is progress I think.

Maybe in a few months I’ll get to the point where I can stroke her and then, I hope, there will be a better chance of convincing somebody to take her in.

It is starting to get cold out there.


Tech Talk: Taking another look at Firefox for Mac OS X

I don’t know where to talk about this, so I’ll do it here. Why not.

Lately I’ve been using Chrome instead of Safari for a couple of technical reasons (some things I don’t like in the latest Safari). But Chrome seems sort of buggy in some areas on the Mac. For example, streaming video playback is choppy on YouTube (even though Google owns it!), Hulu and Netflix, and some DOM elements display weirdly on some sites.

I didn’t want to go back to Safari, so I dusted off Firefox and took it for a test drive and… wow. Everything that doesn’t work well in Safari and Chrome seem to work great in the latest Firefox! Plus – the web developer features are fantastic. And Firefox looks visually very nice – certainly nicer than Chrome. And the documentation is more complete and easier to find. Anyway, I was impressed, because I hadn’t used Firefox as my main browser for so long.

I notice that this month Firefox is back to the #2 slot in overall browser use (IE is #1 and Chrome is now #3) though it seems to go back and forth between Firefox and Chrome.

I hope Firefox is here for the long term and doesn’t give up (like Thunderbird did?) to the huge corporations who control IE, Chrome and Safari.

What do you think? Which browser do you use?